Raymond Gervais (Montreal, 1946-)

A major artist on the Canadian art scene, Raymond Gervais's practice inscribes itself within the main trends in contemporary art and current artistic production through its ties with conceptual and performance art and the exploration of sound. He has carried out an activity in writing, related to art and music, and to his own work.

Raymond Gervais has been creating installations and performances in the visual arts field since 1973, and one area of interest, among others, has been phonography and music by artists. From his earlier sound-related work, he has moved towards a primarily silent form of work since 1990 ('visual' sound having prevailed ever since). In 1976, he presents a first installation with a series of turntables: 12+1=. In 1980, he took part in the 11th Paris Biennale, with an audio-visual piece incorporating a series of metronomes and electronic tuners. 1986 marked the beginning of his exploration of the aural imaginary, with a first piece which makes reference to Claude Debussy — Les concerts de l'imaginaire — followed by a second installation in 1989, also in connection with the composer — Claude Debussy regarde l'Amérique — exhibited at the 49th Parallel in New York. Various characters punctuate Raymond Gervais's art practice (Henri Rousseau, Helen Keller, Virginia Woolf, Guglielmo Marconi...), including Samuel Beckett, as early as 1989, with his first work focusing on the writer and musician, titled Samuel Beckett Piano Solo (Les Disques Oboro), followed by other works referencing the writer in 1990, 1995 and 2006. In 2001, he curated Phono Photo, a group show on the interconnections between records and photography. From 2007 to 2012 he collaborated with the curator Nicole Gingras on various projects: a book of interviews (Puisqu'à toute fin correspond) and a two-part exhibition coinciding with the publication of a book, Raymond Gervais 3x1, presented by the Leonard and Bina Ellen gallery at Concordia University (Fall 2011), and the VOX Center in Montreal (Fall 2012). In 2010, he was awarded the Ozias Leduc Prize from the Fondation Émile Nelligan. His works have incorporated the collections of the major museums in Canada as well as private collections.